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Prenatal Massage- Why You Shouldn't Lie on Your Belly​

Learn why Side-lying is the safest position for your prenatal massage beyond the first trimester

A pregnant belly being massaged

Prenatal Massage- Why You Shouldn't Lie on Your Belly​

February 04, 2017

We know that sometimes getting a prenatal massage can be scary- you want to go to a therapist you know is trustworthy and safe.

I know how frustrating it can be to not be able to lie on your stomach for 9 months, especially if you're a belly sleeper. So I know how magical those miracle massage pillows that allow you to lie on your belly while pregnant sound.

Prenatal Massage Pillows

If you haven't heard of these, they are like a table-top pillow with the belly cut out. As good as it sounds, no therapist trained in prenatal massage (scratch that, no therapist AT ALL) should be putting you in a facedown position once you're in your second or third trimester. It increases intra-abdominal and intra-uterine pressure by compressing the belly. This in turn can increase the likelihood that you may have issues with prolapse or with your pelvic floor. It can also cause potential harm to baby; while not well studied, increased intrauterine pressure puts increased pressure on baby, too. While this risk may be minor, why take it when there is a completely risk free option? Well trained therapists will treat you lying on your side, NOT your belly.

"Why would anyone make those pillows if they aren't safe?"

Unfortunately, owning a profitable business drives most decisions in today's world. Creating pillows that are wanted by pregnant women everywhere will drive up sales; but that doesn't mean they are safe.

"But what about the tables with the holes cut out? Then I won't be compressing my belly."

Again, I know how badly you want to lie on your belly, but unfortunately this isn't going to cut it either. These tables can only be customized to a certain degree, meaning your belly is either going to be hanging out of the hole, or not quite fit into it. This means that your belly will either be squished (see point made above), or left hanging. A hanging belly puts excess pressure on the uterine ligaments, and places any pressure used during the massage onto your low back. This is bad because your low back is already stressed due to your changing centre of gravity, and certainly doesn't need any added stress. 

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